Tonight beyond the determined moon,
aloft with nothing left that is voluntary
for delight, everything uttering hydrogen,
your thinkers are mincing along through a hail of contingencies,
Whille we all – floating though we are, lonesome though we are,
lost in hydrogen – we five by seems things:
when things just are, then something else
will be doing the living.
Doing is not enough; being is not enough;
knowing is far from enough. So we clump around, putting
feet on the dazzle floor, awaiting the real schedule
by celebrating the dazzle schedule.
And, whatever is happening, we are here;
a lurch or a god has brought us together.
We do our jobs-listening in fear
in endless, friendless, Jesus-may-happen fashion.
Our shadows ride over the grass, your shadows, ours: –
Rich men, wise men, be our contemporaries.
Posted in poetry
Tagged poetry, stafford
Go with the loud, the sweet, the high
Ones. It doesn’t mean a thing,
On the slick hardpan of Nazareth’s curves,
To bounce the brickyard wall.
Or Portland for the G I Joe,
Under the mussel clouds,
If in first place beneath the stands,
Your engine throws a rod.
Oversteer, push, in dirty or clean
Air, down force is your hot friend.
It’s bump and run to spray the wine,
Or grenade and catch the fence.
Posted in poetry
My review of a fine new book-length poem by David Biespiel was just published in the May issue of Plume.
Republic Café is David Biespiel’s sixth book of poetry. It is arguably his finest work. Loosely based on Alain Resnais’ romantic drama film Hiroshima Mon Amour, this book-length poem borrows the movie’s main storyline and recasts it as a shape-shifting Noh play, presented in 54 numbered sections. The story follows two lovers over a 36-hour period as they meet and have an affair in the days following 9/11.
University of Washington Press
My grandfather’s brace and bit
wasn’t very useful. Leftover
from the days of sail, it was
a country carpenter’s tool.
To countersink a screw
or drill a pilot hole
you had to put your shoulder into it
and often clear the ratchet and the pawl.
But the bits! The bits had heft and soul.
He had a rack of them like rebel soldiers
just back from building pinewood boats
to carry Jackson’s army across the flood.
Long shank and tapered tang
and a ribboned twist for cutting,
they were like the devil’s hoof to sharpen–
and could open a finger lengthwise too.
Posted in poetry
Some of your work
gives me the poetry shivers.
Where can a mother and God go
to drink coffee among rockweed and plover?
I am fascinated to know earth
gets distracted by its own ruts.
And once, light was powdered and fell
in patterns birds later copied.
And a child’s ear is a riverbed
above the eave of her cheekbone.
And one can breathe in minnows!
I didn’t know, I didn’t know.
Posted in poetry
After fifty feet, you are down to the smaller bones.
Rosemary and fir needles in an old clay pot on the deck.
Lotsa luck giving things away. Metallic tasting wounds.
Fluted window glass. Car tail lights going back and forth.
Dinner on the outer wall—someone’s tunic is on fire.
At the national art museum. Everything isn’t in there.
Thin people walking into you. Give them your hat.
The cracked face on a thousand year old bowl.
A Mardi Gras mask. Thumbs in a cast.
Cotton bolls on stalks in a brown vase.
Every time the wrong thing happens well.
They probably saw something and didn’t say anything.
The way you walk when go means not now.
This madness is like fleas.
A donkey slide. Know your betters.
I was prepared to hate it / well, hate is a strong word /
let’s just say give it wings and let it sail past the bridge
/ but it doesn’t suck / it doesn’t pretend to get on its knees
and make the rafters sing / it is a red owl on a bicycle with hungry eyes /
“Who isn’t bruised around the edges, peaches poured
into the truck bed, receipts faded to white?”
it sends out science mannikins to shout about being nervous in secret /
it collaborates with machines to make rain squalls / it argues for
a better kind of blindness / it warns others about dreaming in stairwells
and at crime scenes / it is a crime scene painted in butterscotch broth /
“The cop speaks and I call a plum into is his mouth
and it doesn’t shut him up.
The cop kneels in the grass below my friends, my friends
crowned with August and Salt. My marigold my wave.”
tendrils and tips and sprockets combine to give it firm plant awareness /
“cyborg means man made” I didn’t know / it is like new sounds added
to frost in the stubble by the road / in a Wyoming winter snow drifts
come and go like grainy herds of buffalo / this book is like those herds
mated with seigniorage — the profit made from the minting of coins /
ducats in the pillow / francs thrown into the Seine / everything costs
what you are willing to throw away / this book is completely free
in that sense / it is madly lyrical / and worth your time.
Note: this review is for the Rumpus Poetry Book Club. Soft Science
is forthcoming from Alice James books.